Sunday, October 14, 2012
Is Arizona A Swing State ?
But that may not be the case this year. Several polls have shown the race tightening in Arizona, and a new poll released yesterday actually has Obama with a very slim lead. A new Rocky Mountain Poll, taken between October 4th and 10th of 523 registered voters, shows President Obama with 44% and Willard Mitt Romney with 42%. Of course, this is within the polls margin of error, but it still shows this is a very tight race in the state. Who could have predicted that at this point the president would have pulled this close (and maybe even into a slim lead) in Arizona?
The poll showed the president with the lead in the populous counties of Pima (Tucson) and Maricopa (Phoenix) counties. Willard is leading in the rural counties. The two candidates have equal support among men, and the president leads Willard by 3 points among women. But it is among Hispanics that a huge difference is seen -- where the president enjoys the support of about 77%, to only 10% for Willard. If the president is able to win Arizona, he will owe a big debt to the Hispanic voters there.
Since Arizona (like Texas) is a state where the Republican Party is controlled by teabaggers (and this poll was completely done after the presidential debate), it brings up the question of whether Willard's move back toward the center might have angered some in Arizona. Does his flopping away from the right-wing have some of them looking favorably on Gary Johnson -- the Libertarian candidate from the neighboring state of New Mexico? Has the debate flip-flop just verified the distrust many of them had for Willard?
I think the odds are still pretty good that Willard will carry Arizona, and get its 11 electoral votes. But the tightening of the race in that state does mean that Willard is going to have to take some campaign money, earmarked for spending in a swing state, and spend it now in Arizona to make sure that state doesn't slip through his fingers.
NOTE -- The same poll also showed Democrat Richard Carmona leading Republican Jeff Flake by a four point margin (44% to 40%) in the race for the open U.S. Senate seat.